Complications of Chronic Bronchitis

Complications of Chronic Bronchitis

Bronchitis is a condition in which the bronchial tubes — which carry air to and away from the lungs — get inflamed. While acute bronchitis typically goes away in 10 days or less, for about 9 million Americans, the condition is chronic. 

Chronic bronchitis is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and while it shares some similar symptoms with acute bronchitis, it’s an entirely different disease. People develop acute bronchitis because of a cold or respiratory infection. 

Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, results from constant irritation and inflammation due to inhaled irritants, such as tobacco smoke, dust, or other allergens. With this condition, the most common symptom is a cough with mucus, which doesn’t go away. 

At Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine in Algonquin, Illinois, pulmonary specialists Dennis Kellar, MD, and Madhu Gundavaram, MD, help patients struggling with chronic bronchitis find relief. In this blog, they share some of the symptoms of chronic bronchitis as well as some of the complications it can trigger.

Do I have chronic bronchitis?

Risk factors for developing chronic bronchitis include smoking as well as exposure to chemicals, second-hand smoke, dust, and other environmental irritants. Some signs that may indicate you have chronic bronchitis include:

You may also experience a higher-than-normal number of colds and other respiratory infections. For patients with severe chronic bronchitis, weight loss, muscle weakness, and swelling in your lower extremities may occur. 

Because chronic bronchitis shares symptoms with several other respiratory conditions, the best way to know if you have chronic bronchitis is to schedule an exam with a trained specialist, such as the team members at Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. 

Our experts use specialized pulmonary function tests to measure your lung volume and airflow to rule out other diseases, such as emphysema or pneumonia. They may also order blood tests and imaging studies, such as chest X-rays, to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.   

Can chronic bronchitis cause complications?

There is no cure for chronic bronchitis, and people diagnosed with chronic bronchitis have an elevated risk for developing other lung conditions and infections, such as:

The good news is that the providers at Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine can help you manage your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease, which can reduce your risk of developing complications.  

If you’re concerned about chronic bronchitis, don’t wait to seek treatment. Book an appointment online or over the phone with Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine today.

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